Making Money with Website Ads

The basic premise with setting up advertisements on your website is that the more traffic you are able to generate, the higher the chances that a percentage of those visitors will click on the ads to purchase endorsed products (or not so endorsed - see my blog on about an offensive ad that found its way to my site via Bidvertiser).  Commissions can be earned based on either number of click-throughs, or from the actual purchase of featured items.

Build website, slap on ads, collect revenue - sounds like an easy road to riches, right?  Well, theory always has a way of sobering up in the face of reality.  Unless your site is drawing in millions of readers a day, its unlikely that you'll be able to earn more than the costs of maintaining your site or paying for your domain name.  Here are some ad revenue statistics from my main blog,, which as of this writing has generated 214,581 hits since its inception in February, 2006:

Advertiser Total revenue to date (in US $)
Google AdSense $79.96
Virtual Sheet Music $20.63
Amazon Associates $5.27
Bidvertiser (no longer using this service, due to offensive content) $2.68


Total advertising revenue from to date: $108.54

Keep in mind, i'm only spending minimal time working on my websites (,,, and now a new satellite site at - i'll probably purchase a URL for that one too) - no more than a post or two a day.  Initial advertisements for consisted of searching out and linking to/commenting on other similar classical music blogs and forums.  i'll probably use the same approach to get the word out about as well.  Letting folks know about your site is one thing - taking the time and creative energy to come up with content that's fresh and worthwhile, that's another thing entirely, and really the basis for whether or not a site will have legs enough to draw a sustainable readership.  More on that in future posts.

i suppose that in theory there's unlimited 'growth potential' for website advertising revenue, but i'm not quitting my day job just yet!

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[ 05 May, 2008 ] • [ Hugh ]
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Operating a monetized blog in this kind of specialized niche market is always a difficult road--I know from experience.

However, Adsense ads and referrals aren't the only way to make money from a blog. I'm sure your results would tell a different story if you listed teaching, performing, and speaking engagements indirectly received as a result of having pro-actively built your brand in this medium.

An additional kvetch about monetization: I think the Adsense ads on my blog are ugly and often with very little relevance. But people click on them, and with much more frequency than other affiliate links which are much more appropriate to my niche.

Sometimes I think I should abandon monetization altogether in order to keep people onsite for longer periods of time. Then I think of the time that I've spent writing hundreds of articles over the last two years and realize that I would simply like to be compensated for my work in the most professional way possible, just as in my teaching and performing careers.

[ Chris Foley ] • [ 05 May, 2008 ] • [ 13:03:57 ]
That's a really good point, Chris - the "invisible" revenue that wouldn't be generated at all if it weren't for the website in the first place! Then there's the personal development side of building a website - i find my writing skills improving with the regular discipline of contributing to my blogs, as well as my networking capabilities. Those activities have gone a long way to stimulating both my artistic and my business imaginations!

[ Hugh ] • [ 05 May, 2008 ] • [ 20:00:46 ]

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